Give chaos a chance

The refugee crisis is the major humanitarian and political issue in all of the European Union, including Hungary, and it will probably remain so for quite some time. However, life goes on. The Minister of the Prime Minister’s Office, János Lázár has, for example, submitted to Parliament a Bill about the establishment of a new ministry: the Prime Minister’s Cabinet. Continue reading

For my birthday, buy me a politician

Two days ago we posted about the miraculous coincidences that enabled János Sánta, a friend of János Lázár’s (Minister of the Prime Minister’s Office) and Chairman-CEO of Continental Tobacco Group, to first gain significant market share on the tobacco retail market, then to avoid having to pay a special tobacco tax, and finally to become the concessionary for tobacco wholesale.

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Migrants come and go – corruption stays

While Europe, including Hungary, is mostly concerned with two not totally unrelated issues – the Greek crisis and the South-North migration of Mediterranean and Kosovar immigrants – life goes on and we would like to entertain you with a most telling story about the Hungarian state of affairs.

Our tale starts 3 years ago when Fidesz enacted a law about tobacco retail, with the noble goal to decrease smoking, particularly among youngsters. According to the new law, as of 1 July 2013 tobacco retail became a state monopoly and only newly tendered concession holders were allowed to sell tobacco products. Existing tobacconists had to compete with politically well-connected, well-organized and well-capitalized groups to be allowed to continue to run their shops and were mostly on the losing side. Continue reading

Blame the Serbs

The government seems to have opened their box of tricks again. The “A decision was taken to close Hungarian-Serbian border.” headline as seen in our post yesterday, has disappeared from the government’s web page, to be replaced with the previous sub-heading: “The Minister of Interior has been instructed to prepare the closing of the Hungarian – Serbian border”. Which is definitely not the same.

According to the Serbian Ambassador, Rade Drobac has been told in the Foreign Ministry that the decision is not final yet and Hungary is still searching for a solution. Continue reading

The Lázár – Rogán dream team

Something is brewing in Fidesz. Several newspapers and portals reported independently that Prime Minister Orbán wants to create the position of Chief of Cabinet or Chief of Staff and appoint faction leader Antal Rogán to the job. It has been reported too that the new job would also result in the establishment of a new cabinet, a small government within the government, which would enable the Prime Minister to closely control all departments and get his agenda across effectively. Continue reading

Is there Fidesz without Orbán?

Yesterday Fidesz lost the by-election by less than 300 votes. It was a very close race indeed. In 2014 it received 7000 votes more than the second placed left wing candidate and 8000 more than the Jobbik candidate in the same constituency. Quite a difference. Fidesz lost in the by-election in Veszprém in Febuary and another one in Budapest in November 2014. The ones lost this year had been solid Fidesz constituencies in the past. Continue reading